JONATHAN FERRERA GALLERY is pleased to present Heroes and Villains, new fabric works by GINA PHILLIPS in her first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Heroes and Villains is a continuation of the visual narrative Phillips began with her 2010 solo show, The Call of The Alluvial Empire, at the Isaac Delgado Fine Art Gallery at Delgado College. Using a variety of media including fabric, thread, ink, paint, synthetic hair, glass beads, and feathers, Gina Phillips has created a story-telling installation that explores elements of innocence and brutality in primitive American culture in the Southern Delta.
Ultimately, Heroes and Villains is about dualism the great complement of benevolent and malignant forces. It's also about: opportunism, Schadenfreud, othering, betrayal, westward expansion, the triumph of nature over human folly, making lemonade out of lemons, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!, picking up the pieces a grand scheme, a master plan, attraction/repulsion, domination/vulnerability, mortality, sex
I have to give credit to three sources of inspiration for this body of work: Theodorus de Bry was a 16th century, Belgian engraver who published several books illustrating the New World. His depictions of Native Americas were not based on firsthand observation. He relied on the descriptions and sketches of various explorers to create a fabricated vision of the Americas. Heroes and Villains is the name of one of the songs co-written by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks on The Beach Boys album, Smile. Smile is a surf-rock opera about the significance of westward expansion in the formation of American identity. And, Richard Campanella's work, especially Time and Place in New Orleans: Past Geographies in the Present Day, describing the confluence of geography and human occupation in Southeast Louisiana, continues to fuel my imagination.
GINA PHILLIPS is a mixed media, narrative artist who grew up in Kentucky and has lived in New Orleans since 1995. The imagery, stories and characters of both regions influence her work. She started her career as a painter, but over the years, has increasingly incorporated fabric and thread into her work. She begins a piece with a simple under-painting in acrylic paint on canvas or muslin…then finishes the piece by appliquéing fabric and thread on top. Phillips uses a communal gathering process to source her fabrics, as neighbors, friends, family often donate to her artistic process. Her sewn work hover between two and three dimensionality and often the backs of her pieces are as interesting as the front sides. The most common narrative characteristic that runs through her work is tragicomedy. The people and/or animals that tell the story often embody a magical realism.
Gina Phillips has a BFA from the University of Kentucky and an MFA from Tulane University’s Newcomb College. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the country including Pepperdine University, Ballroom Marfa, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and most recently the 21c Museum in Louisville, KY. In addition, her work has been presented at numerous art fairs including PULSE LA, PULSE Miami, Texas Contemporary and VOLTA Basel. Phillips’ work has been featured in Art in America, The Times-Picayune and ARTNews, among others. She was selected as one of twenty-seven international artists featured in the Prospect.2 Biennial of Contemporary Art curated by Dan Cameron and her collection of fabric portraits “Friends and Neighbors” was exhibited at VOLTA8 as part of Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland. In 2014, Phillips' work was featured in a mid-career retrospective at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art entitled, “I Was Trying Hard to Think About Sweet Things.” Additionally, her work was shown in two solo exhibitions at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery and the 21c Museum in Louisville, KY. She is scheduled for a solo exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art in late-2015.
Her work is in numerous collections including University of Kentucky, Lexington; NASA; New Orleans Museum of Art; Ogden Museum of Southern Art; 21c Museum, KY; the Drake Hotel, Toronto; The Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation; Tulane University and House of Blues (various locations across US.); Josh Rechnitz, Thomas Coleman, Ellen and Cooper Manning, and the collection of Marilyn Oshman.